Phytotherapy in Spain
Abstract: Herbal medicines are still widely used by the Spanish people. For many of the rural population plants play an important role as a source of raw material for therapeutic measures. During the last 40 years the Spanish health system has changed considerably. By means of the social insurance (Seguridad social) general medical support became available for nearly the whole population. In the course of this development also medicines became available at a rather low price. One could even say that they came into fashion. At the same time medicinal herbs got a bad reputation among educated people. This situation was created in part by the pressure and the sales promotion campaigns of the pharmaceutical industry within the physicians. On the other hand also the patients lost their confidence in natural products. Since the sixties certain liberal groups of Spanish intellectuals however exploited the naturopathic literature which was taken over from German, American and French sources. In these circles medicinal herbs, which are available in herbal stores are used therapeutically. These herbal stores serve as substitute for the traditional herbalists (yerberos) which in the meantime mostly died. Occasionally you can find some of them selling their herbal drugs on little village markets.